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BCSO issues Medicare scam warning

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Bandera County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Matt King has issued a warning about a scam that's currently making the rounds.
According to King, last week, a Bandera County resident received a telephone call from a person claiming to be working with Medicare. The caller asked the resident for detailed personal information, including Social Security and Medicare identification numbers.
The resident refused to give the caller of the solicited information, but reported the incident to the sheriff's department and requested that a warning be issued to all citizens. "That person wanted everyone to be aware that, once again, scam artists are targeting locals," King said.
As he explained, fraudulent callers purporting to be soliciting information about Medicare, Social Security or supplemental insurance are, in reality, attempting to trick individuals into disclosing private financial information. Disclosure of vital information could lead to identity theft or unauthorized withdrawals from a person's bank account.
To allay suspicions, callers claim that new Medicare, Social Security or supplemental insurance benefits cards are being issued, which requires the beneficiary's file to be updated. The scam artist asks the citizen to verify or provide their personal banking information, which is then used to commit theft.
"Callers involved in this crime ring become extremely aggressive, calling repeatedly at all hours of the day, attempting to wear down a potential victim," King said. "These criminals will say anything to try to gain a person's trust."
For anyone who receives this type of call, King advised:
• Do not believe these claims and do not carry on a conversation with the caller.
• If you receive a call asking you to disclose your bank account or other financial information, hang up immediately. These are criminals, and by speaking with the callers, even to ask them to stop calling, they may be encouraged to continue calling your telephone number.
• Medicare or Social Security recipients should be aware the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration does not call and ask beneficiaries to disclose financial information in order to get a new card.
"It's important to be vigilant and prevent this scam from happening to you or someone you care about," King said.